2009.09.04: September 4, 2009: Headlines: COS - Korea: Writing - Korea: Staunton News Leader: Korea RPCV Clifford Garstang writes "In an Uncharted Country"

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Korea: Peace Corps Korea : Peace Corps Korea: Newest Stories: 2009.09.04: September 4, 2009: Headlines: COS - Korea: Writing - Korea: Staunton News Leader: Korea RPCV Clifford Garstang writes "In an Uncharted Country"

By Admin1 (admin) (98.188.147.225) on Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 11:16 am: Edit Post

Korea RPCV Clifford Garstang writes "In an Uncharted Country"

Korea RPCV Clifford Garstang writes In an Uncharted Country

Garstang has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University, and a law degree from Indiana University's School of Law. He joined the U.S. Peace Corps in 1976, worked for an international law firm in offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Singapore for nine years, and eventually joined the World Bank. But negotiating international loan contracts and managing legal reform projects wasn't enough to satisfy the creative streak waiting to break free in him. Advertisement So, he cut back to doing contract work for the bank and earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte. He wrote a draft novel set in Southeast Asia while he was still working for the World Bank, but he discovered it wasn't marketable as it was written and shelved it. When Garstang moved to the Shenandoah Valley, he switched to writing short stories, which he felt played better to his writing strengths. But getting them published wasn't easy, because large publishing houses don't tend to see short-story books as potential blockbusters, he said. "The big publishing houses are not about nurturing new writers, but there are a lot of small presses that are," Garstang said. "I think they are the future of publishing."

Korea RPCV Clifford Garstang writes "In an Uncharted Country"

Author finds inspiration for short stories in the Valley

By Maria Longley/staff mlongley@newsleader.com

September 4, 2009

Author Clifford Garstang has written a collection of short fiction stories about people looking for place, a theme that fascinates the Mint Spring resident because he counts himself among those people.
Advertisement

The 55-year-old grew up in Peoria, Ill., and after a successful law career took him to places as far away as China, Indonesia and the Philippines, he settled in the Shenandoah Valley in 2001 to pursue his writing dream full-time. Once here, he found himself inspired by the landscape and the locals.

"I was an outsider here and struggling to meet people and to fit in - so that topic interested me," Garstang said. "Then I started looking around and seeing that even people who've been here a long time were also trying to fit in in some way - people struggling to find a place for themselves."

His new book published by Press 53, a Winston-Salem, N.C., company that specializes in short story collections, is aptly called "In an Uncharted Country" and includes locations and characters inspired by the Valley.

The story "Savage Source" is set, in part, in a coffee shop called Java Mountain, which looks in its description much like Blue Mountain Coffee in Staunton. The canine character "Stonewall," in the story of the same name, was based partly on Mosby the dog, the beloved Malamute-Husky who was fatally shot in 2003.

Of the 12 stories - which are linked by overlapping characters, place and theme - 11 have been previously published in national literary magazines.

The yarns, Garstang added, don't offer clear endings.

"The way I end them, there are still questions," he said. "I don't like stories that tie up too neatly."

The story "Heading for Home," about an African American sheriff investigating the murder of a cow, was named a Distinguished American Mystery Story by Best American Mysteries, which compiles short-story anthologies. It was first published in the Baltimore Review in 2006.

Garstang has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University, and a law degree from Indiana University's School of Law. He joined the U.S. Peace Corps in 1976, worked for an international law firm in offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Singapore for nine years, and eventually joined the World Bank.

But negotiating international loan contracts and managing legal reform projects wasn't enough to satisfy the creative streak waiting to break free in him.

So, he cut back to doing contract work for the bank and earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte.

He wrote a draft novel set in Southeast Asia while he was still working for the World Bank, but he discovered it wasn't marketable as it was written and shelved it.

When Garstang moved to the Shenandoah Valley, he switched to writing short stories, which he felt played better to his writing strengths. But getting them published wasn't easy, because large publishing houses don't tend to see short-story books as potential blockbusters, he said.

"The big publishing houses are not about nurturing new writers, but there are a lot of small presses that are," Garstang said. "I think they are the future of publishing."

Two of Garstang's writing mentors have enthusiastically endorsed "In an Uncharted Country": Recent Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout and National Book Award winner Tim O'Brien.

Garstang wrote the final story in the book, "Red Peony," as a sort of conclusion to the collection.

"That story relates to how there really is a place for everyone," he said. "And that people find a way to fit together."

Garstang will be at The Sacred Circle in Staunton signing books 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: September, 2009; Peace Corps Korea; Directory of Korea RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Korea RPCVs; Writing - Korea





When this story was posted in September 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:




Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed

 Site Index Search PCOL with Google Contact PCOL Recent Posts Bulletin Board Open Discussion RPCV Directory Register

Memo to Incoming Director Williams Date: August 24 2009 No: 1419 Memo to Incoming Director Williams
PCOL has asked five prominent RPCVs and Staff to write a memo on the most important issues facing the Peace Corps today. Issues raised include the independence of the Peace Corps, political appointments at the agency, revitalizing the five-year rule, lowering the ET rate, empowering volunteers, removing financial barriers to service, increasing the agency's budget, reducing costs, and making the Peace Corps bureaucracy more efficient and responsive. Latest: Greetings from Director Williams

Join Us Mr. President! Date: June 26 2009 No: 1380 Join Us Mr. President!
"We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we'll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity," said Barack Obama during his campaign. Returned Volunteers rally and and march to the White House to support a bold new Peace Corps for a new age. Latest: Senator Dodd introduces Peace Corps Improvement and Expansion Act of 2009 .

Meet Aaron Williams - Our Next Director Date: July 30 2009 No: 1411 Meet Aaron Williams - Our Next Director
Senator Dodd's Senate Subcommittee held confirmation hearings for Aaron Williams to become the 18th Peace Corps Director. "It's exciting to have a nominee who served in the Peace Corps and also has experience in international development and management," said Dodd as he put Williams on the fast track to be confirmed by the full Senate before the August recess. Read our exclusive coverage of the hearings and our biography of Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams.

July 11, 2009: House says Yes, Senate No Date: July 11 2009 No: 1390 July 11, 2009: House says Yes, Senate No
Senate Funding for Peace Corps Falls Short of Goal 10 Jul
House supports $450M Peace Corps Budget 17 Jun
Senator Kit Bond says PC is Smart Power 29 Jun
Parents Keep Dream Alive for Fallen Zambia PCV 3 Jul
PCVs Safe in Honduras after Coup 28 Jun
Jahanshah Javid recalls Peace Corps Volunteers in Iran 22 Jun
Peace Corps to return to Sierra Leone in 2010 18 Jun
Ryan Van Duzer rode bike from Honduras to Boulder 17 Jun
Monica Mills Named a Top Grassroots Lobbyist 12 Jun
Tiffany Nelson teaches - and learns in China 12 Jun
Dr. Roger Brooks spent 35 years with Concord Schools 9 Jun
Dr. Catherine Taylor Foster administered Polio vaccine in Nepal 8 Jun
Bill Lorah Runs Pre-Collegiate Program in Colorado 7 Jun
Brian Carroll writes: An African village adapts 7 Jun
Rebekah Martin finds love is not enough 6 Jun
Peter Bartholomew helps preserve Korean traditional culture 5 Jun
Obama speaks to Islamic World at Cairo University 4 Jun
Matt Hepp combines humanitarian and climbing objectives 4 Jun
Juana Bordas named 2009 Unique Woman of Colorado 2 Jun
Phil Hardberger left his mark on San Antonio 31 May
Philip Nix retires as headmaster of Day School 31 May

New: More Stories from June and July 2009

Director Ron Tschetter:  The PCOL Interview Date: December 9 2008 No: 1296 Director Ron Tschetter: The PCOL Interview
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter sat down for an in-depth interview to discuss the evacuation from Bolivia, political appointees at Peace Corps headquarters, the five year rule, the Peace Corps Foundation, the internet and the Peace Corps, how the transition is going, and what the prospects are for doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011. Read the interview and you are sure to learn something new about the Peace Corps. PCOL previously did an interview with Director Gaddi Vasquez.



Read the stories and leave your comments.








Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Staunton News Leader

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Korea; Writing - Korea

PCOL44920
49


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: